Making copies

A Reading Note

What it means to make a copy:

The most damaging consequence of the movement to turn culture into private property is the largely successful change in attitude toward creativity and copying. Creative people are supposedly those who do not copy or imitate others. As we just saw, this is false; creative people must copy and must imitate others. Treating transformative copying as theft, as laziness, or as being non-creative is counter to human nature. All learning is social; copying is an essential form of social learning. Our copyright laws must be changed to reflect this fact.

Patry, How to Fix Copyright, page 99

Emphasis mine; this is perhaps the most distressing part of the conversations around SOPA and PIPA and similar bills put forth by the entertainment industry. It is inconceivable that a group of people whose primary livelihood depends on remakes could misunderstand this most basic element of creativity. More likely that they recognize the value that such a ruling could infer on their own back catalog. Put another way: copying in order to make anew is not lazy. But relying on revenue from copies of your own work most certainly is.

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How to Fix Copyright

William Patry

Patry is senior copyright counsel at Google, and despite the upfront disclaimer, this book defines a vision of copyright that clearly benefits the world’s biggest search engine.